Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Which Ronald Belisario will show up in 2011?

Ronald Belisario was one of the biggest surprises for the Dodgers in 2009. He threw 70 2/3 great innings, posting a 2.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 6.6 H/9, 8.2 K/9 and a 197 ERA+.

The Dodgers signed him as an minor-league free agent prior to the '09 season. He had decent success in the minors, but nothing like he did in 2009.

Prior to the 2010 season, he had visa problems which kept him in Venezuela for virtually all of Spring Training. After that, he was never able to get on track, posting a 5.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP (not terrible), 8.5 H/9, 6.2 K/9 and a 76 ERA+.

Belisario has a heavy 92-96 MPH sinking fastball and a decent low-to-mid-80s slider. It's a solid repertoire for a potential late-inning reliever.

He had an outstanding showing in the Venezuelan Winter League. In 18 innings, he had a 1.00 ERA, 15/4 K/BB ratio and 14 saves.

So, which Ronald Belisario will the Dodgers get in 2011?

Odds are it won't be the '09 version, but it probably won't be the '10 version, either.

Ideally, Belisario will be a 6th- or 7th-inning guy for the Dodgers as he and Kenley Janse help bridge the gap to Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton.

The rotation has five guys all capable of throwing 180 innings (barring injury), so that should help to keep the Dodger bullpen fresh and good -- especially down the stretch.

Belisario will be a key component in the 'pen and barring anything unforeseen, he should perform reasonably well. A 70-inning, 3.00 ERA/1.20 WHIP season isn't out of the question.

The Dodgers are setting up to have a really nice bullpen. Another lefty is a must, especially with Kuo's past injury concerns. Scott Elbert could be that guy, if he has his head on straight and the Dodgers are willing to give him a shot.

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